Are you a writer—either published or aspiring? Do you love romance and women’s fiction? If so, you should know that new opportunities exist for writers at eChook Digital Publishing. Take advantage of our insider tips of the trade, pursue the art and craft of writing, and publish great stories.
Looking to Get Published?
eChook is actively looking for romances and women’s fiction, 35,000 words-75,000. We’re on the lookout for talented writers—from experienced writers to those just starting their writing careers.
Agented or Unagented Submissions – we welcome both.
eChook is unique in the publishing industry, combining a global reach and diverse reading platforms including ebooks, audio, and mobile phone apps. We’re on the lookout for talented new authors and we look forward to your submission!
If your writing class has finished and you’re wondering whether you’ll be able to stick to your goals without the structure of weekly assignments, here are some tips for staying on track.
Setting Achievable Writing Goals
How do we define what is achievable? How many words or pages are an appropriate goal? The answer depends primarily on your schedule, and what you are willing to push yourself to do. When I first began writing full-time, twenty years ago, I was newly-married and living with my husband in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I couldn’t get a work visa (we were there for his job) and I only knew two or three of the other wives so my day was my own. I set myself a goal of 5,000 words a day. 5,000 words! That seems an enormous amount to me today but, back then, I had no kids, no pets, no other family around and a minimal social life, so why not? And, of course, there were no cell phones, no internet – no electronic interruptions apart from the phone on the wall (which never rang)! No cable TV either; even the few TV stations broadcast in Malay. I don’t remember if I wrote precisely that word-count every day, but I did finish my first novel (which went in a drawer and was later joined by others).
The point is, what constitutes an achievable goal is greatly affected by how full your life is. On top of that, if – or when – your day or week suddenly becomes unexpectedly congested, you’ll have to adapt your goals accordingly.
Assignment: Think about the next week and the coming months. What is on your schedule? Have you booked a holiday? Decide if you will write during your time away, and how many words you want to produce each day and each week until Labor Day. (Note: Richard Marek, editor, writer and ex-publisher of Dutton, says a page a day is a reasonable goal.)
Staying on Track – Practical Tips
1. Staying connected to the work isn’t always easy. When I’m writing, I keep my laptop in the kitchen where I can’t miss it. I keep it plugged in and open to the file I’m writing.
2. Where do you go to write? Where can you be sure to concentrate? I grab my (fully-charged) laptop, get in the car and drive to a nearby park, thinking about my story on the way. When I get there, I leave my phone on. (I know people who turn theirs off, but I deleted my email from mine so it’s less distracting). If I stay in the house, I can’t concentrate for any length of time. The ever-inviting internet is there, humming and pinging and chirping for my attention. My email in-box (which I’m trying to check less frequently since I realized the emails I receive are actually all about other people’s agendas) is impossible to ignore. Barnes and Noble, the library or the local coffee shop are all good choices, provided you’re not likely to bump into people you know.
3. Create fake deadlines. When you haven’t got a deadline for a class or a publication, it can be very effective to create your own. Get some friends together – even one friend will work – and commit to swapping work on a particular day and time each week.
4. Buddy writing. This is my favorite way to get back on track. If I’ve lost the thread of my story and feel like I’m starting from scratch, I make an appointment to meet a friend for a writing date at a local library with comfy chairs. We spend ten minutes catching up, and then we sit side by side, in silence, and write on our laptops. It works!
Assignment: If this resonates with you, try this: write a sentence underneath your goals that goes something like this…’I do not waste energy berating myself for missed goals. There’s no need and it doesn’t support my writing goals. What’s in the past is behind me, it’s over. What matters is what I do today, and today I will write x words.’
Re-Discovering Excitement for Your Project
One of the biggest and most overlooked obstacles for writers is lack of feedback. No matter how talented the writer, sometimes we look at our work and think it’s ordinary and boring. This is because of the old cliche about familiarity breeding contempt. Our characters and stories are so familiar to us, they can easily seem ordinary and boring. We are so used to them, they DO seem ordinary. We are so used to what’s happening in the story, we’ve read it or thought about it so many times, that it IS boring – to us. But not to someone else who’s reading it for the first time. So here’s the answer: send a portion to a friend and ask for feedback. (Please choose a friend who knows how to tell you what’s working as well as what’s not working, otherwise you won’t re-discover excitement and it could put you off for good.)
Assignment: write the names of 3 to 5 people who are supportive of your work and available to you for feedback. Post these names underneath your goals also, so that it’s simple for you to reach out and get what you need to help you along the way to completion of your project.
Love isn’t just for Valentine’s Day. If we’re fortunate, it’s for every day, and it’s often the power behind a strong piece of writing. Readers register the depth of feeling without understanding exactly why they’re so moved. Consider this excerpt from Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘How it Feels to be Colored Me’:
“In the abrupt way that jazz orchestras have, this one plunges into a number. It loses no time in circumlocutions, but gets right down to business. It constricts the thorax and splits the heart with its tempo and narcotic harmonies. This orchestra grows rambunctious, rears on its hind legs and attacks the tonal veil with primitive fury, rending it, clawing it until it breaks through to the jungle beyond. I follow those heathen–follow them exultingly. I dance wildly inside myself; I yell within, I whoop; I shake my assegai above my head, I hurl it true to the mark yeeeeooww! I am in the jungle and living in the jungle way. My face is painted red and yellow and my body is painted blue. My pulse is throbbing like a war drum. I want to slaughter something–give pain, give death to what, I do not know.”
She never mentions love but, wow, you can tell she loves this music.
What makes you feel like that? Who makes you feel like that? Write for ten minutes to this prompt:
I first knew I loved him/her/it when…
And for a little Valentine’s Day fun, here’s a brief video entitled ‘Valentine’s in the Digital Age’. Enjoy!
Monyka Berrocosa of BlogTalkRadio completely surprised me when she said that, often, she finds women – particularly mothers – are scared of new technologies and that they may hold back, not execute their ideas, rather than experiment and fail. Does this describe you? If it does, it’s time for some new thinking. Here are three tips from my class (Writing for Digital Media) at Sarah Lawrence College:
1. Click and see what happens – the internet is constantly changing; websites get updated, new and better ones are launched. It simply isn’t possible to learn first and execute second. You learn by doing.
2. No-one will give you permission – and you don’t need it! What do YOU want to find on the internet? What’s the most fantastic thing you can think of? Start it now.
3. Make it fun! Every time Leslie and I do something new on the computer, once we’ve edited once, twice, three times and think we’re finally ready to hit send, she looks at me and says, “Shall we go?” and I say, “Click away!” and she clicks the mouse and we laugh our heads off. Silly but true.
On our interview at mycity4herradio, Monyka asked questions about writing and publishing I haven’t been asked before (despite dozens of interviews over the last 18 months! Great job, Monyka!), so for more tips and advice, you might like to listen to the interview, available in eChook’s Story Studio now. To visit Monyka at mycity4herradio, please click here.
Coming Soon: Interviews with best-selling author Jane Green, award-winning YA author Barbara Dee, novelist Sandi Kahn Shelton, Dr. Rachelle Katz and more…
We’re excited to announce the January 2013 launch of our rebranded Book Girl video series and monthly Book Club. Join us for cocktail and Book Club fun biweekly on Thursdays at 7pm on YouTube at BookGirlTV!
We’re delighted to announce that our web series, ‘Liquid Lunch for Book-Lovers’ is being re-branded as BookGirlTV and that a national launch of the show will begin in January 2013. We also have a tie-in book in the works. Exciting times!
Here’s our first re-branded episode – enjoy!
Watch Nina and BookGirl Tessa Smith McGovern make a delicious, original cocktail as Nina reveals how she wrote her highly acclaimed memoir, ‘Tolstoy and the Purple Chair’, named an Outstanding Debut Novel of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and given a starred review. Nina is the brains behind readallday.org, a book review website, and a blogger for the Huffington Post.
Tessa Smith McGovern is an award-winning writer, teacher at Sarah Lawrence College and founder of eChook Digital Publishing.
Part 2 of this exclusive interview will be available soon.
Enjoy delectable cocktails and insightful interviews with today’s top authors! To be notified when new BookGirl interviews become available, please go to YouTube and subscribe to BookGirlTV.
In the first of the Westport Country Playhouse’s new Literary Salon Series ‘Books Worth Talking About!’, I interviewed Nina Sankovitch, author of the memoir Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: A Year of Magical Reading about the use of memoir writing as a healing tool.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair was named an Outstanding Debut Novel of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and given a starred review. And Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us, Bombay Time, and The Weight of Heaven, said “Nina Sankovitch has crafted a dazzling memoir that reminds us of the most primal function of literature–to heal, to nurture and to connect us to our truest selves.”
New in 2012, the Playhouse’s Literary Salon series will include a pre-show salon with featured authors and lively discussion followed by a performance of a Playhouse production. This series will provide an opportunity to interact with prominent authors and explore ideas and themes which will enrich the theater-going experience.
The idea is the brain-child of Westport book publicist Meryl Moss and Playhouse managing director Michael Ross. For the past 19 years, Moss has run Meryl L. Moss Media Relations Inc. in Westport. Her roster includes many New York Times best-selling authors.
The salons are open to anyone with a ticket for the performance that follows and, in celebration of the Playhouse’ Literary Salon Series, here are some fascinating facts about the origin of the literary salon:
Literary salons in seventeenth-century France‘, the literary salon originated in France and whilst their salons were not without precedent – there were salons in sixteenth-century Italy – no other country had produced a tradition of such gatherings.
The salon tradition began in 1610 when the Italian-born marquise de Ramboulliet decided the French court was not sophisticated enough, so she created an alternate court in her townhouse near the Louvre.
While the tradition was alive, the word salon did not refer to the actual meetings, it referred only to the formal room in which the gatherings were held. During those early decades, however, the assemblies took place in more intimate settings. The marquise received her guests in an inner sanctum which could only be reached by going through the formal salons. The inner sanctum was the marquise’s bed chamber, known as la chambre bleu. There, she seated all her guests in the space between the bed and the wall while she remained in bed.
Salons flourished in France for nearly two centuries and, during that time, remained under the control of women. Salon literary criticism reflected that fact. Its volumes paid tribute to women’s writing with a seriousness that subsequently vanished from criticism and has only reappeared in recent decades.
The French revolution in 1789 brought the salon tradition to an abrupt halt, although it did re-surface in the nineteenth century.
Of course, there were salons in other European nations, most famously Virginia Woolf’s salon in her home in Bloomsbury, London in the early 1900’s, but these were preceded by an era of British salons from 1750 – 1790.
Those earlier salons, held by women known as the Bluestocking circle, were often hosted by Elizabeth Montagu, Elizabeth Vesey and Frances Boscawen. Informed by French refugees and communications from France, these literate and often eccentric women viewed themselves as important intellectual sources and they banished activities such as playing cards in favor of intellectual exchange.
To learn more about the Westport Country Playhouse literary salons or to RSVP for one –Books Worth Talking About! through the Playhouse Box Office at 203.227.4177
Please continue to check the Playhouse website for more Books Worth Talking About events!
We are so proud and delighted to announce that our second collection ‘Memoir, Vol.1’ has won the Silver Medal in this year’s eLit Awards in the Anthology category. Congratulations to all our authors: Jennifer Armstrong, David Barry, Carol Boas, Ina Chadwick, Gabi Coatsworth, Rebecca Dimyan, Eileen Elkinson, Leslie Chess Feller, Jimin Han, Aileen Hewitt, Nikki Loftin, Helen Rafferty and Tricia Tierney!
And ‘London Road: Linked Stories’ by Tessa Smith McGovern, our first collection, won the Gold Medal from this year’s eLit Awards in the Short Story Collection category. Thanks so much to the folks at eLit and to all our readers – over five and a half thousand downloads across iTunes, Android, eBooks, Nook and Kindle in the last year!
SHORT STORIES, VOL. 1. $.99 on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Nook, Kindle and online.
To submit your work, please visit our Submissions page. To receive free instruction, cutting edge news and tools you can use to write, build a platform and publish, sign up for the blog on our home page.
Audio Download of Teleseminar: ‘Digital Age Secrets to Write, Promote and Publish Your Memoir’ Available Now in Story Studio
This seminar works for all types of writing, not just memoir, and if you click on the blog post below this one, you’ll find 3 essential tips and a companion worksheet that will help you get closer to you writing goals.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask, please post them in the Reply box or send them via email to email@example.com. We are developing a series of short instructional videos for YouTube and Ustream and your question may be featured in one of these.
To access the mp3, please sign up for Story Studio (top right of page).
Thanks to everyone who dialed in to today’s chat. I hope you enjoyed it!
Below I’ve posted some notes and a useful ‘Where-am-I-Now?’ worksheet that you can print and complete to get you closer to your goals.
Writing Your Memoir – Three Essential Tips
1. Writing Dates – either with yourself, a date and time blocked out in your calendar at least three times a week (or every day – even better) or, if that doesn’t work for you, make a date with another writer to meet up, either physically or virtually, and write.
2. Write what matters. The beauty of writing memoir is that we’ve all had significant experiences – fantastic or horrendous – that can be crafted into a compelling story. The characters, situation and details are all at your fingertips. All you need to get going is your writing dates…
3. Revision beyond what seems necessary: one of the biggest surprises to me in my writing life has been how detailed and lengthy this process is – way beyond what I wish was necessary! The fact is, your finished story will only be as good as the process of revision you subject it to. Have each story read by at least three writers, if possible, but probably no more than five. That old cliche, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ is true. The more accomplished these writers are, the better your finished story most likely will be.
Publishing Your Memoir – Three Essential Tips
1. You’ll groan (this makes me roll my eyes) but, if you think your story is finished, there’s still one more thing to do: read it aloud, every word, and yes, edit it one last time. Reading aloud is the only way to tell for sure if your words are ringing true.
2. Have a calendar for submitting your work – literally a specific day and time. It takes some research to decide where to submit, and it’s easier to get together regularly with a small group and make a party of it. Each person can pick a few places to submit to, print their submission guidelines, swap the information with the others and then everyone can get together once a month over coffee or wine to stuff envelopes and/or submit online. You can use websites like tellitslant.com and submishmash.com (which require small payments) or submit free to places like eChook Digital’s SHOWCASE.
3. Post an inspirational quote somewhere you can’t miss it. I wrote my own and it’s this: “I don’t care how many times I’m rejected, or by whom. I will do my best to incorporate any comments and improve what I can, but I commit to taking the next step no matter what anybody says.”
Okay, I don’t truly feel this way in the evenings when I’m tired but every morning I do, and that’s good enough for me. If you’re getting rejections, you’re in the game, and that’s where you want to be!
And finally, whenever possible, have fun! This isn’t easy if what you’re writing is very dark, but most pieces of writing need both light and dark, otherwise the reader’s experience will be all one tone and that can be unsatisfying, so remember to take note of – and revel in – the writing that delights you in between those darker dramatic moments.
WHERE AM I NOW WORKSHEET?
How many words or hours are you writing each week?
How many do you want to do?
How can you make this change?
When will you start?
Are there life experiences you’d like to write about?
Which ones matter the most to you?
To determine that, write a list of 3 – 5 topics such as, The Day I knew X Loved me (or, The Day I knew I No Longer Loved X), or whatever works…
Give each topic a rating out of 10. 10/10 is the most meaningful, 1/10 is the least.
What vehicle for revision do you have currently?
How could it be improved?
Who might be most helpful to work with?
Have you got writing languishing in a drawer that needs submitting (or re-submitting)?
Where do you want to be published?
Is this writing suitable for those markets?
How will you go about submitting?
When (day and time)?
Have you got a quote about perseverance posted where you can see it? (Just Google ‘quotes on perseverance’ to find some).
Can you commit with a friend to hold each other accountable?
And finally, what other things could help you have a blast on your journey as a writer? New beliefs, new classes or new writer friends?
Writing. What a wonderful way of life!
Happy writing, and good luck!